Public Consultation on the implementation of the UNECE Aarhus Convention in Ireland

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government invites comments from interested parties on the implementation in Ireland of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (known as the Aarhus Convention) in Ireland.

Context of this Consultation
Article 10 of the Aarhus Convention requires the Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to keep under continuous review the implementation of the Convention on the basis of regular reporting by the Parties through National Implementation Reports.

The Department prepared a preliminary draft National Implementation Report to outline the implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Ireland and invited comments from stakeholders, members of the public and other interested parties. Twenty one submissions were received. These will be made available here.

The submissions received have been analysed and summaries of the issues raised are outlined in the decision-making table. This sets out which comments have been included in the second draft and, for those that have not been included, the rationale for their omission.

A number of comments were received in the public consultation process suggesting future arrangements that could be undertaken to build upon the implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Ireland. While these have not been included in the NIR, which is a report of the current situation, the Department has noted all suggestions and, where the suggestion is outside the remit of this Department, will communicate them to the relevant public authority. They are recorded in the decision-making table as suggestions for the future but not appropriate for inclusion in the National Implementation Report. The Department is grateful to all correspondents who made such suggestions and will endeavour to act upon them, as appropriate, to promote the convention in Ireland during the next inter-sessional period.

A number of comments relate to specific cases. Where possible, the issue in question has been extracted from these examples and summarised in the decision-making table (doc, 265kb) . It is not considered appropriate to include individual examples in the National Implementation Report.

The Reporting Requirements issued by the secretariat suggest that Parties indicate any major differences of opinion emerging in the consultation process. Where there is a difference of opinion that is raised in a number of submissions, these have been included in the second draft.

A second draft report has been prepared, taking into account all submissions received, and is available here. Comments are sought on this report by 1st November 2013

Second Draft of Ireland’s National Implementation Report 2014 [doc, 447kB]
Text of the Aarhus Convention [external link]

Purpose of this Consultation
The purpose of this consultation is to provide the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the Aarhus Convention Secretariat and the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee with the widest possible range of views and opinions on issues related to the implementation and practical arrangements for the promotion of the Aarhus Convention in Ireland.

The outcome of this consultation will feed into the work being carried out by the Aarhus Convention MOP and into the effective implementation of the Aarhus Convention by the Parties to the Convention, as well as providing useful material across the wider policy development agenda.

A synthesis report for each session of the MOP summarizing the progress made and identifying significant trends, challenges and solutions will be prepared on the basis of the National Implementation Reports.

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